Furious Glentoran officials have fined four key players and warned the quartet they could be transfer-listed after defying strict orders from manager Mick McDermott.
Sunday Life Sport can exclusively reveal Joe Crowe, Chris Gallagher, Ciaran O’Connor and Jay Donnelly have all been hit hard in the pocket and told their futures at The Oval are in jeopardy following the breach of club rules. The four players went drinking in Belfast city centre to watch a Euro 2020 game and ended up in a popular music venue.
McDermott had explicitly told his squad he wanted them to remain at home ahead of Glentorans Europa Conference League clash with New Saints of Wales, due to Covid-19 concerns.
The Glens lost 4-2 on aggregate as McDermott’s squad was depleted by coronavirus for the second leg in Wales, and left club chiefs seething at an opportunity missed.
Glentoran Chairman Stephen Henderson, who confirmed the disciplinary action, told Sunday Life Sport that the players’ behaviour was “selfish, unprofessional and unacceptable”.
With the investment they have made in the playing staff over the last 18 months, Oval chiefs had been hoping to enjoy a successful and lucrative European adventure this season.
They were therefore left incensed by the misconduct of their four players.
Sunday Life Sport understands at least one other member of McDermott’s squad joined the party to watch the Euro 2020 fixture in a bar but were not drinking alcohol and did not go to the music venue.
It is believed Crowe, O’Connor and Donnelly have all accepted their punishment but midfielder Gallagher is disputing the fine he has been given, stating that nowhere in his contract does it say he cannot go out.
However, Glentoran are adamant the players broke club rules by going against the wishes of their manager in preparation for the European ties.
Boss McDermott was unavailable for comment but Glens chairman Henderson could barely conceal his anger and frustration last night at the impact of the players’ behaviour.
“Action has been taken against the relevant players and the outcome will depend on how players react to the disciplinary action,” stated Henderson.
“So far, I am pleased with the response from the majority of the players involved, but very disappointed with the response from one player.”